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Pinoy Abroad

UAE lays down rights of migrant workers, including OFWs

February 13, 2010 11:03am
Filipinos working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stand to benefit from multilingual booklets published by the government that detail the rights of migrant workers there.

A recent report published on UAE-based news site Khaleej Times said the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior released the booklet.

Published in six languages

Titled “The Worker: Rights and Duties," the booklet is the first worker’s pocketbook and will be issued in six languages: Arabic, English, Filipino (Tagalog), Persian, Chinese, and Urdu.

Lt. Col. Salah Al Gul, Director of Office of Culture of Respect for Law, said the book will be distributed to all federal government departments, concerned NGOs, labor accommodations, and media outlets.

He said the booklet explains the rights and responsibilities of the worker, and spreads awareness among individuals about their rights and duties towards community and the state.

Conforms to UAE constitution

The booklet seeks to foster and heighten the culture of respecting the law and public order, features rights and duties of the worker in pursuance of laws conforming with the UAE constitution.

“The UAE lends great attention to workers’ rights according to Article 20 of UAE Constitution which says Society shall esteem work as a cornerstone of its development. Legislation must uphold the rights of workers and employers consistent with advanced international standards," he said.

He added that under the UAE constitution, “Every citizen shall be free to choose his occupation, trade or profession within the limits of law. Due consideration (is) given to regulations organizing such professions and trades."

Ignorance is unjustifiable

Gul, however, emphasized the worker should have legitimate residency in the country to enjoy all rights enshrined in international legislations and conventions on labor rights in particular.

To prevent abuse and exploitation, he said workers should be well aware of their rights stated in the work contract signed with employers, as ignorance of the contract’s terms and conditions is unjustifiable.

Right to religion, language, legal assistance

The workers also have the right to practice their religious rituals.

Upon delivering statements before concerned authorities, the workers can speak their own language and there should be a translator. They may also choose not to sign statements made before legal and judicial authorities unless they read statements r have them recited to them.

They also have the right to know the charges they are facing, not answer questions and seek legal assistance.

Workers' duties and responsibilities

As for the workers’ duties, Gul said they should not break the UAE laws or disrespect its traditions, customs and heritage once he sets foot on the UAE land.

Demanding rights, he also stressed, doesn’t give workers the right to devastate properties, stage strikes and sit-ins or demonstrations that put establishments and individuals to danger.

“The state has provided the worker with all legal channels to demand his rights and such illegal practices will be dealt with strictly," he said.

Safety and conduct

The workers are also mandated to follow industrial safety instructions and not to attempt to pose danger to the work site. He should also reject any kind of work that keeps him out of eye of the state agencies or breaks the state laws.

The workers should not consume drugs, intoxicating drinks or any other unknown substances offered to them by others which will subject them to legal accountability, Gul added.

The workers should also report any crime they see and refrain from circulating rumors, or face a jail term of up to three years. - TJD, GMANews.TV
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